By Lee Dolbear
- Tillakaratne Dilshan downs the Afghans
- Asghar Stanikzai career best in vain
- Two huge games set for Friday
KOLKATA, INDIA – Tillakaratne Dilshan magic ends Afghanistan dreams of beating holders with easy victory in Group 1.
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Afghanistan skipper Asghar Stanikzai won the toss today and decided to set a total against current World T20 champions Sri Lanka, at the same venue where Pakistan cruised to victory against Bangladesh yesterday. It was a role reversal today though with the chasing team Sri Lanka beating the Afghans by 6 wickets.
It was a pedestrian start by Afghanistan and they found themselves 51/4 from 11 overs, With no Lasith Malinga in the team through an ongoing knee problem, his replacement Rangana Herath bowled nicely taking the wickets of Noor Ali and Mohammad Nabi ending with figures of 2/24 off his 4 overs.
Skipper Stanikzai though scored a great 62 off 47 deliveries before he was caught by Dinesh Chandimal off the bowling of Thisara Perera (3/33), Samiullah Shenwari also blasted 31 as they ended on a moderate 153/7.
Chandimal and Tillakaratne Dilshan opened the Sri Lankan reply with gusto only for the former to be dismissed in the last over of the powerplay for 18.
Dilshan who plodded along solidly even though the odd wicket fell at the other end then upped the anti with some brilliant maximums, his pull for four got the holders home and hosed with 7 balls to spare finishing with 83 off 56 deliveries.
The great win was pleasing for Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews who told Sky Sports “It was a much-needed victory for us as we haven’t played well in our recent past, Our bowlers did well except for two big overs and we were positive from the word go with the bat. We are not looking too far ahead but if we click we can do wonders as a team.”
Afghan captain Stanikzai said, in reply: “I thought we were 10 or 15 runs short with our total, although Dilshan played very well for Sri Lanka and showed a lot of responsibility. We also made mistakes with our fielding, so hopefully we can improve that in our next game.”
What a great start for the holders even without Malinga, this competition just keeps on giving.
Up next on Friday we have England v South Africa in Group 1, following New Zealand v Australia in Group 2.
Does it get much better than this? Be sure to let us know in the comments.